Yesterday we left a hot sunny Paris and arrived to a warm rainy Prague. A very friendly American-born driver met us at the airport and brought us to our apartment. There we met the owner who showed us the apartment and a map of the area marking places he recommended for shopping, eating, and where to catch the tram. We went to Café Louvre for a nice Czech dinner. We figured out the exchange rate for the koruna. Prices here are much cheaper than Paris!
Aidan recovered and had more energy so we were able to venture further and longer our last few days in Paris. We went to the flea market (‘les puces’ or ‘the fleas’) where walked through a large area of stalls playing loud music and selling food, African goods, sneakers, t-shirts and other clothing all targeted to those who aspire to look like a ‘gangsta’. We kept walking and eventually found the more Parisienne, charming, vintage, antique markets that we envisioned. For clear directions, here’s a link to an adorable blog, Oh Happy Day. It would have been reassuring had I read this before we went. We were there on a Monday when many stalls were closed but since we were there to just browse, it was nicer for it to be less crowded.
After lunch, we went to Centre Pompidou and breezed through the exhibits of modern art from 1905-1960. The 1960’s – current day exhibition really captured the boys attention. They spent quite some time taking photos and videos. Willem was enthralled with a video installation titled The Dome. He made Aidan and I come watch it but Aidan didn’t share the same appreciation. It was after six when we were ready to leave. I really wanted to see the Brancusi Atelier but it was already closed.
We were tired and cranky but pressed on to the Tuileries where we had a nice dinner nearby. Three Frenchmen who sat next to us complimented Kevin on how well behaved and integrated in our conversation the boys were. So good to hear as we’ve had our share of exasperated moments where we have showed each other (and others) our ugly sides.
The boys and I went to an amusement park in the Tuileries and rode the ferris wheel just after the sun set. The Eiffel Tower was lit up and had the same golden glow as the crescent-shaped moon that hung just above it. It was an amazing view.
The boys then had a blast floating, running on water in plastic bubbles!
Tuesday we attempted to go to Les Catacombs. It was a hot day and a cool underground stroll among piles of bones seemed refreshing but instead we wandered around misled by a sign pointing to the wrong direction. We were asked by others for directions so we weren’t alone in our confusion. Of course, by the time we found the entrance, it was closed.
Spent a quiet afternoon reading in the shade at Jardin du Luxembourg. Willem enjoyed the playground where he made friends and played tag.
After a very hot and crowded ride on the metro, we had dinner along Canal Saint-Martin. Enjoyed watching people ride by on bikes and groups of friends sitting along the quai having a picnic.
We just left Prague a few days ago, I would’ve posted earlier, but where we are now, the power goes off sometimes. The first day there, we wandered about the city, and saw some castles, churches, and we also went to a Jewish cemetery that was extremely crammed; the headstones were almost all touching each other. When the bodies were buried, they had to be upright to save room. We had dinner at a very nice restaurant with a bunch of beta fish on the tables. All of the restaurants we went to in Prague were very good and each had something unique about them. One was a barge, and another had huge chunks of meat hanging around. Once, we went to a castle with guards that stood at each gate. They were the guys that don’t move. The ones at the main gate were better than guards at other gates, because Willem waved to one and he smiled. There were some interesting things around there. There was a medieval jail, with a torture chamber with some really scary items. They had a pit that they would drop prisoners in, and there was no way out, so they would rot. We saw skeletons at the bottom. There was also two churches that were really pretty. One had amazing stained glass, and tombs of saints. One tomb had one ton of pure silver decoration! The other church had a ceiling with fancy deigns in the beams.
It had a separate room, that was way up high, where they would defenestrate bad people. The dictionary definition of defenestrate is: the action of throwing someone out of a window. There is a famous story of two nobles, William Slavata and Jaroslav Martinic, who were tried and found guilty of violating the Letter of Majesty. Their punishment: defenestration. So they were tossed out of a window, that I got to lean my head out of, and they lived! They had landed in a pile of horse manure.
Here we are in Turnov, Czech Republic. The first day we were here, we went to a very special church, that wasn’t famous until in the 13th century, the abbot of Sedlec monastery came back from a trip to Palestine, and sprinkled some dirt in the cemetery outside of the church. Then everyone wanted to be buried there. Later ion the 17th century, the cemetery grew so over populated, that the skeletons were just stored in the church. A crazy monk came along, and decided to make things out of all of the bones in the church. Then an architect came and finished the job, so now the church is filled with amazing sculptures and designs.
For the rest of the day, we just relaxed, read, wondered the property we are staying on, or played with the cats that live here. Ones name is Doctor, and the other is Chief of the Village, and yes, the owners have little kids. Today, we drove out to a place that used to be all covered in water, so the massive boulders there are really neat. They are in a beautiful quiet forest, so it was a nice trip without tons of people. I found a nice big rock to climb and my dad got some good pictures. Afterwards, we went to a church on top of a cliff over looking a small town. We saw a ropes course on the way and had a blast climbing around high above the ground. We had dinner, then came home and played with the cats. Then I twisted my ankle pretty badly so that ended the day.